It all started with one request from my daughter, "Mama, maybe one day we can get a daddy rooster, so we can have baby chicks." She even prayed that day God would give her some. Little did we all know, two days later a rooster would fall into our laps at the strangest time and place and my daughter's dream of baby chicks become a reality. Not only was it a rooster, but one that was within the same breed of our hen. As simple as it may seem, we thanked God for our new rooster and looked forward to what we would all gain from this experience.
The next step was to decide whether to let the eggs incubate naturally with our hen or in an incubator. We decided it would be fun for the kids to actually watch them hatch, so we needed an incubator. They were very reasonable to purchase or there were plenty of homemade plans on the Internet, but someone actually blessed us with one for free. Once we had our rooster and our incubator, 21 days was all that stood between us and baby chicks!
We didn't purchase an automatic turner, but turned the eggs ourselves three times a day. We enjoyed candling them throughout the process. (You can purchase equipment to candle eggs, but I used an empty toilet paper roll with a bright flashlight.) We could see a heartbeat as early as four days. We could see the blood vessels and the chick moving at 14 days. We began hearing faint chirping around 20 days, and that made the excitement grow. Finally on the 21st day, we saw what is called "pipping." It is the first hole the chick makes before hatching. A few hours later, after patiently waiting and watching, we had our first chick! Later in the day, I had the privilege of watching all three of my children stare in amazement as our second chick hatched its way out and into our lives.
One may ask, so what did you learn from this experience? Well, I now realize how fragile and articulate the creation of chickens is. One wrong move of temperature or humidity in the incubator, the presence of bacteria, or failure to turn the eggs could have been fatal to the growth process. The fact that He created the hen with instincts to turn their eggs and to care for them over the 21 day process, is just extraordinary to me. Once the hatching began, it was amazing how the chick worked to break the egg, then rested, taking in nourishment from the yolk with each pause. Then once they hatched completely out, the final nourishment sustained them for the next 24 hours.
Through this experience, I was reminded that God sees our heart and our desires. Sure this was a four year old making a simple request one day, but we didn't go looking for a rooster and we didn't go buy an incubator. We didn't make these eggs form into chickens that hatched. God did! See, I had the same dream of hatching chicks, but I thought it was something we couldn't do until we moved to the country. I didn't ask God to provide us a way to do it, but my daughter with her child like faith did. It makes me think of Matthew 7:9-11 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! I truly believe He did this for her. The day they hatched, I heard her praying and thanking Him for our chicks. She finished by asking Him to watch over them. He gets the glory from this and we, well we get to enjoy two sweet, new chicks!
If you would like to watch the video of our very first chick hatching, please click here. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.